The thought of acquiring Kevin Love is making teams do crazy things.
For proof, look no further than Vivek Ranadive and Pete D'Alessandro. According to Yahoo Sports' Marc J. Spears, the Sacramento Kings would be inclined to trade valuable assets for the All-Star power forward even without an assurance of him signing a long-term deal:
The Sacramento Kings have let the Minnesota Timberwolves know they are interested in trading for All-Star forward Kevin Love – and the Kings would make a deal without any assurance from Love he'd re-sign with them, a league source told Yahoo Sports.
The Kings are willing to give up their eighth overall pick in this year's NBA draft and a combination of players for Love, even though he would not be expected to sign a contract extension before next season – if ever, with the rebuilding, small-market franchise, the source said.
That would be a colossal gamble. A frontcourt of Love and DeMarcus Cousins to go with point guard Isaiah Thomas and swingman Rudy Gay is undeniably tantalizing. However, there's a very recent example of how this kind of move can backfire. The Los Angeles Lakers traded for Dwight Howard without a contract extension, had him for one mediocre season and lost him in free agency only to plummet to the bottom of the Western Conference.
Of course, with seemingly every other team in the NBA after Love, it may take some out-of-the-box thinking to get him.
According to sources, via Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski, the Boston Celtics, Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Lakers and Phoenix Suns are all going hard after the double-double machine. He also noted that the Houston Rockets may be in the mix:
Another contender planning aggressive play for a Kevin Love trade, sources tell Yahoo: Houston. Kevin McHale has strong bond with Love.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) May 18, 2014
Bleacher Report's Ric Bucher explained how Love to Golden State or Houston would completely change the landscape of the West:
It doesn't come close to ending there.
Who will land Kevin Love?
NBA.com's David Aldridge called the Washington Wizards a "stealth candidate" for Love—although a deal would likely have to include burgeoning superstar Bradley Beal, ultimately stopping talks immediately. Joe Kotoch of Sheridan Hoops cited sources saying the Cleveland Cavaliers could deal the No. 1 overall pick, Anderson Varejao, Dion Waiters and Tristan Thompson in a deal for Love.
The former seems like one of the most intriguing proposals in all of this. Love wouldn't hate the idea of pairing with Kyrie Irving—and the potential of possibly adding a Mr. LeBron James doesn't hurt, either—while the Wolves get a franchise-changer in Andrew Wiggins or Joel Embiid to go with three very solid players.
If Love has any say in the deal—which he certainly will if a team doesn't trade for him without agreeing to an extension first (ahem, Sacramento)—you can add the Chicago Bulls to list. Love would welcome a deal there, per ESPN's Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne.
At this point, it might just be easier to make a list of teams that aren't in the sweepstakes for A Shot at Love.
That said, Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor recently shot down the excess of rumors, via the Pioneer Press' Charley Walters:
At this point, we're not talking to any teams. I haven't heard from Kevin or his agents or anything like that. We're assuming that Kevin will be here next season, and we're working with that scenario. This isn't the time for us to do anything but to prepare for next year.
As far as Flip (Saunders) and I, there's nothing that has happened. Flip is getting ready for the draft and interviewing for a coach, and that's where our priority has got to be.
That's more just something you say at this point, though. As the clock continues to tick and the chances of losing Love for nothing via free agency increase, the pressure to make a deal will grow exponentially.
And clearly, there will be an abundance of teams waiting once that happens.